One anxiety a Korean talent agency will experience is when one of their artists is nearing their end.
Now it’s not to say that the “end” of an artist is when they are no longer popular as they were once before, but for example, if a popular idol group (in this case) is nearing the end of their contract or if they are about to enlist in the military (male).
According to a Korean op-ed by news portal E-Daily, an entertainment agency will generally sign a group with a contract averaging seven years. Usually after this initial contract is done, contracts are renewed not as a group but individually. So there’s a chance not all the group members will renew.
A recent example of this occurring is with idol group MBLAQ. Debuting as a five-member group in 2009, their contract expired near the end of 2014. It was revealed in December 2014 that members Lee Joon and Thunder (currently active under his birth name Park Sang Hyun) would be leaving the group and J. Tune Camp, opting not to renew their contract and focus on their acting career instead.
For this particular op-ed by E-Daily, the reporter describes SM Entertainment‘s situation.
In mid-2014, all of the members of Girls’ Generation (2007) were confirmed to have renewed their contract with their agency for another three years. Their initial contract as a group with SM Entertainment lasted seven years. However, in late September to early October, despite the renewal, it was announced that member Jessica has left the group due to a conflict regarding her personal fashion business.
The group continued to promote as eight members, making their Korean comeback this summer with their 5th studio album Lion Heart, sweeping the music shows in #1.
For YG Entertainment, there have been concerns with BIGBANG as their own contracts are also expiring sometime next year. On top of that, the members are also due for their military enlistment with T.O.P allegedly being the first one, making their MADE tour possibly one of the last ones until afterwards. Additionally, BIGBANG also accounts for a significant amount of the agency’s sales.
Since their debut in 2006, BIGBANG has gained a very important role in YGE as one of its most successful artists to date, allowing YGE to take advantage of K-Pop going worldwide and allowing the popular idol group to go on a world tour repeatedly.
It is understandable that YGE is pushing to debut new groups under their label in order to make up for the lost of revenue once the members of BIGBANG leave for the military. Last year, the agency debuted the male idol group WINNER, who proved to be very successful as they achieved an all-kill status upon their album release, and just recently, iKON, the brother group of WINNER.
So who will hold these two agencies’ top placings in the future? The E-Daily op-ed names Red Velvet and iKON.
On the other hand, SME’s latest girl group to debut is Red Velvet, who made their way onto the music scene in August 2014. In the last two comebacks they have held, “Ice Cream Cake” and “Dumb Dumb,” Red Velvet has proven to be quite the force that may someday reach the popularity of Girls’ Generation at their height.
iKON recently dropped their first half of their debut album WELCOME BACK and their title track “Rhythm Ta” has been seen on several Top 10 digital online charts since its release. Additionally, they have already gained music show trophies for their warm-up single – or a pre-debut single – “My Type” on MBC‘s Music Core on September 26th and two on SBS‘s Inkigayo on September 27th and October 4th show.
Koreaboo has collected reactions from Netizens who commented on the original article from our Korean source. The below comments are the most popular comments at the time of this article being published.
[+10,782 / -849] No matter what, these kids can’t follow Girls’ Generation and BIGBANG.
[+8,476 / -1363] Look at how YG’s scale to even reach out to Red Velvet and Soshi to media play iKONㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ This would have made more sense if they compared Red Velvet to WINNER since they debuted around the same timeㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ
[+6,995 / -1363] iKON’s media play ㄷㄷㄷ
[+6,183 / -715] And WINNER……..
[+990, -94] WINNER and Red Velvet debuted at the same time while iKON a year later, why are they being compared to Red Velvet ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ and not WINNER.